Rachel is perhaps best known as one-third of the group, Maeve, but she’s got a real good sound going on as a solo artist. She has a real musical presence when she appears on stage and her release Heartbreak is for Everyone is reminiscent of music from a former time yet it’s tinged with a contemporary feel and vibe.
To discover more about Rachel, visit her website.
Check out this video for “Heartbreak is for Everyone.”
Rachel will be opening for Mason Daring and Jeanie Stahl at the me&thee coffeehouse in Marblehead, MA on Friday, October 25.
How would you describe your music? What’s your two-minute elevator pitch? 😉
Always evolving! I am a singer-songwriter that is leaning on country western and folk. I’ve sung jazz for many years and it is through jazz music that I have learned to truly emote through my vocals. I really love writing about relationships and the struggle. My love for the art of songwriting has caused me to probe the intimate and challenging portions of my own personal journey, believing that the most personal is the most universal.
Has music always been an important part of your life? When did you decide to pursue it as a career?
I grew up singing in church and was always involved musically throughout school, whether it be choir, band or theater. I have seemed to gravitate towards other musicians, so many of my friendships have been formed around a musical connection. Music is a part of most everyone’s life, I believe. It creates bridges for people to connect with, healing and companionship, enjoyment and a reprieve from the stress of life. Music brings into focus what we struggle to see and so much more. This is what music does for me. It’s powerful and has always been a part of my life.
I pursue it only because I can’t live without singing and creating through writing. I don’t know if I ever looked to music as a “career”. But I’ve wanted to share my songs, share others’ songs and get as close to the center of music as I can for as long as I can remember. It’s a tough road, many think music is easier than it actually is. Writing, rehearsing, traveling, for me, I’ve got to put in the time and be dedicated. But, creating and sharing music feels honest to me. In spite of the seemingly endless challenges, I believe it’s worth it.
Tell us about your CD Heartbreak is for Everyone. Some reviewers have said that it’s reminiscent of the sound of Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn….that’s real country. Do you feel that you’ve gravitated toward that genre and era of country music and that’s influenced your writing? Did you listen to that type of music growing up?
My grandfather listened to country western music, so it’s in my sub-conscience 🙂 But I would have to say that discovering Lori McKenna years ago really woke me up to country folk. I fell in love with her style, her writing and her honesty. She has been a great inspiration to me musically, and has caused me to pay attention more to country music and the stories told. A few years back I was singing jazz standards quite regularly with a local jazz pianist. My voice fits well into those classic songs, so it’s not surprising that I would be compared vocally/stylistically, at times, to Patsy Cline now that I’m writing more in the country folk vein.
The photo / video shoot of “Heartbreak is for Everyone” looks like it was a lot of fun to do. That black and white Appalachian kind of feel… Did you strive for that kind of atmosphere to help relay the feel of the song?
I had it on my heart for a while, the phrase “Heartbreak is for Everyone.” Heartbreak had been rearing its head in my own life and in the lives of close friends around me. I had been writing songs that seemed to be letting out the honesty of that phrase, but not necessarily offering any answers, except for the comfort that comes from knowing that someone feels what you feel. I decided that I wanted to put all of those songs on one album. The only thing missing was the actual song “Heartbreak is for Everyone.” One day hanging out by the Barnacle beach on Front St., it came to my mind like a familiar melody and the song came flooding out. “Heartbreak is for Everyone” reminds me of something that Johnny Cash or Patsy Cline might sing. The photo shoot is definitely playing into their style and era. I ended up making a 4 song EP, and I am in process recording a full length album, coming soon…
How disciplined a writer are you? I heard that you participate in a song-a-day-for a month kind of challenge each year. How difficult is that?
Recording a new album has been taking some time, so I’ve given myself permission to relax when it comes to creating music beyond the project in front of me. The truth is, I am always writing. I carry my phone and use the voice memo every day capturing melodies that just come to me. The same thing goes for lyric concepts and phrases. The compiled ideas on my phone come in handy when “song a day in May” rolls around. I go through my catalogue of ideas and harvest the gold. Writing a song a day is challenging for sure, but it helps me to not over edit myself. Over editing can stump the whole process and before you know it, you’ve stopped writing. If you push through the “junk,” it’s surprising what you can find on the other side.
What are your desert island disks?
Tough question! How many discs do I get to take on the island? I need to have variety…
1. Emmylou Harris: Wrecking Ball. The production is stunning and we get to hear her lovely voice covering other exceptional writers.
2. Lori McKenna: Lorraine. I love all things Lori McKenna. I listen to her when I need to feel understood.
3. Alison Krauss: Forget About It. This is a favorite for sure, her voice is unbeatable.
4. Switchfoot: Vice Verses. For some uplifting emo-rock, this is what I’m currently listening to. I also really love their older albumk Beautiful Let Down.
5. U2: Joshua Tree. If I was told I could never hear “Where the Streets Have No Name” again, that would be a very sad day.
6. Prince: Greatest Hits. What collection would be complete without some sexy dance grooves!